christmas in Minnesota!

We had a wonderful time in Minnesota! Lot's of snow... piles and piles of it! we made snow caves, walked for miles in the lake, saw an airplane land on the lake, an igloo, we tried our feet in some snow shoes (on the lake!), sliding, just about everything! It was a terrific trip and WE LOVE MINNESOTA!

see you soon!
(I'll be back blogging tomorrow... or the next day!)

happy snow days to all!

love - carina


Annual After Christmas Sale!

Yes, it's just about all going on SALE!
Don't miss great deals on your favorite items

Come and check it out and see if you can get what you REALLY want!


christmas presents...

oh yes, I just finished these or I would have given you a heads up on the idea! But it worked out really great... One night at the store I made all of the potholders, they are so easy (square!) and then added an initial to make them more personal for each family. I handed these out to all of my friends and neighbors... I hope you like them!

granola recipe is from my blog - click here!

Happy Holidays!


happy holidays!

I'm on my way to Minnesota for Christmas, Julie is staying in Rhode Island and shipping out until the wee hours on Friday....

From all of us to all of you we want to wish everyone a lovely holiday!

Merry Merry....

Love + Peace,

Julie, Christine & Carina


pirouette - says hello to a new decade!

Pirouette the blog dedicated to bringing you the BEST in children's design, news and inspiration, asked a selcect bunch of leading children's retailers, designers and industry types what they foresaw on the horizon for the coming years and what they have learned from the past decade. Nonchalant Mom was asked to weigh in as well (THANK YOU Florence)!

It's all an interesting read with lots of inspiration for the future and a bit of looking back, all healthy as the new year approaches!

link to story on Pirouette


gift wrapping - easy...

Sometimes you just want to go without the bow... so here is an idea that we like to do, I just happen to be a professional box-letter lady (it goes along with a childhood of embroidering your name on your jeans, drawing snoopy and box letters...). But honestly it's easy and looks great under the tree!

Just trying to help make everything easier for you -- and me too!

Happy Holidays!


johnsons temtation/Janssons frästelse

This is a holiday favorite that the whole family loves and it's great at this time of year. I know that there is great controversy over this dish, my mom acts as though she is Julia Child while making hers, sauteing the onions in butter, she refuses to talk to me when I use rice milk, it's like the holy grail of Swedish holiday cooking. Conversely, while living in Italy with my Swedish friend Gunn I suggested that we make Johnsons Temptation (it's called Janssons frästelse in Swedish but translated, via my mom, we always called it Johnsons temptation) for Christmas Eve dinner and she said, "that's a peasant dish"... but we made it! and we all loved it. She explained to me that this is what you made when you had nothing left in your cupboard... it only takes - potatoes, onions, anchovies and a bit of milk or cream. Needless to say my mom was very upset by this description and to this day I let her make it when we are together (hers is ALWAYS better) and I just make it differently.

I will do my best to give you both descriptions and you can try them and see what you come up with. Any way you slice it this is a great holiday dish that EVERYBODY loves!

4-6 potatoes - depending on size and size of dish you are using - cut into matchsticks - yukon gold works great
1 yellow onion - sliced into thin slices
1 tin of Abba Swedish anchovies (I have used others but my mom yelled at me when I told her this, she said it's completely WRONG if I do that...) - chop them up (you can get them at Ikea)
bit of salt (anchovies take care of that)
milk or cream (I have use rice milk too... it works but it doesn't come out as thick)

MY VERSION - preheat oven to 375 degrees
I use a mandolin on the potatoes and then chop into matchsticks (HUGE timesaver). I leave the skins on (easier) and put into a large bowl. Then I chop the onion into slivers add to bowl. Chop anchovies add to bowl, then I take a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and mix it all together. Put it into a nice pan as you will be serving in this pan, and I take about 3/4 cup - 1 cup of milk just so that it coats the bottom of the pan. Then I put a couple of pieces of butter (maybe 2 tbsp) on top and cover with tin foil and put in oven. bake for 30 minutes and take off foil and cook until browned on top and it looks like it's done (maybe 15-20 minutes).

PEEL potatoes
cut carefully into matchsticks all the same EXACT size
put aside
very thinly slice onion and saute in butter until translucent
combine onion, potato
thinly slice anchovies REMEMBER ONLY ABBA
add to potato & onion
melt 2-3 tbsp of butter and add to mixture
add salt & pepper
put ingredients into dish and add 1 cup of heavy creme
cover with foil and bake for 3 minutes, uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown.

Good luck and have fun!



design in Marveland!

 There is a wonderful little exhibition going on in London at the moment which is a Christmas exhibition and a pop up shop dedicated to children. Marveland will exhibit a great diversity and an original combination of artwork that can be enjoyed by everyone. The Event will show both desing pieces developed exclusively by children in workshops, while also selling designs created by established desingers, perfect as a Christmas gift.

The show is curated by Nina Thibaud and Olivia Decaris and it is going on from December 4th - 20th at The Garage, 1 North Terrace sw32b - visit their website here for hours and more information.

Honestly, I am not sure that I understand just what is going on here but it sure looks interesting and sometimes these kind of things make the best surprises! So I hope that you can make time to visit and if you do please give us a comment and let us know how it was and what you saw!

One of the featured designers is Hina Thibaud and she makes this wonderful "my theater" which looks incredibly wonderful and a great idea for any child! - click here to visit her blog

And thank you Handmade Charlotte for bringing this to my attention!

visit Marveland by clicking here


ssshhhh... secret sale!

We just received the new Matta Resort Collection in and I think it's the most exciting collection I have seen from Matta in a long time, I know, I know, I say that I love them each time and how could this be better.... but it is!! I think that when it comes to Resort, Matta is right at home... they know how to make you look great at the beach or anywhere warm! (Okay, yes they make us look good in the winter too but this will blow your socks off!)

We are working on getting the collection online in a day or two but in the meantime I need to make room for this new collection, SO we thought that we would offer friends and family and all of you blog readers (yes, you are friends and family in my book!) a discount on the previous seasons of: Matta, Layla, Shampoodle women and Erica Tanov - just use code: 'secret25' when check out for an extra 25% off the above collections (remember this does NOT include the new Resort collection)

Matta, Layla, Erica Tanov, and Shampoodle for Women = 25% off (code: 'secret25')
(and kit+lili women is marked down as well... it's already marked 25% off!)

Have good shopping!

Love - carina


nonchalant mom gift ideas!

We've created a GIFT IDEAS page on Nonchalantmom to make finding gifts easier for you! It's easy as pie... just click on 'gifts' at the bottom of the homepage and then you can choose from BABY, KIDS or MOM AND HOME. Obviously there is much much more available on the website, I personally like to shop by 'collection' but any way you like it there's a lot of great gift ideas for this Holiday Season!

We work hard to bring you small collections from independent designers, somehow I think it's more fun this way, to give unique gifts that you won't find anywhere else. Many of our collections are organic, but they don't have to be.. the DO have to be creative, fun and easy to wear or live with! I hope that you enjoy our selection and remember that there is free shipping until the end of 2010 (at checkout use code: freeship2010).

We gift wrap with a simple silver soft wrap and red bakers twine and if you include a message we will include it on grey paper. Anything that is packaged in a box we wrap in green paper with green yarn bow. This is not the fanciest wrapping possible, but I think it uses less waste and we like to encourage that! (plus it's kind of a typical Swedish wrapping style..). Just choose 'gift wrap' when checking out and we are happy to gift wrap! (+ $5)

Thank you so much for your patronage this year and I look forward to giving you the best that I can for the coming year!

Happy Holidays!

click here for gift ideas from nonchalant mom


restaurants that are okay for kids and parents in NYC

le pain quotidien - photo by thomas schlipper

It occurred to me that not everybody has fantastic friends that invite them over for dinner while in NYC so I just wanted to offer a few of my own suggestions on where we go with the kids in the city. Now, it's been a long time since we lived in New York so these may be a bit dated but, at least they work! If you have your own suggestions please comment and let us know your GREAT ideas!

Tribeca - Bubby's (on Hudson) - I think this may be the original family restaurant in NYC
Tribeca - moomah - for breakfast or lunch and kids can do their own activities while you eat! absolutely terrific!
Soho - Souen - on Prince and 6th Ave (it's macrobiotic so it's delicious and good for you too!)
Soho - Balthazar - if you have a reservation and don't have to wait hours for a table Balthazar is great for kids because there is so much going on, but this isn't necessarily a 'kids' restaurant.
Midtown - Pipa - the restaurant in ABC carpet and home - it's tapas so it's small dishes and you might have trouble finding something that isn't spicy but it's an easy place for kids and you can take breaks and take them into the store while waiting for food.
Le Pain Quotidien - These places are the BEST for kids and adults, we love them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! easy and simple food that is delicious - there is one in: uptown, midtown and downtown   - click here for locations
Uptown - Fred - restaurant in Barneys - it's expensive but you're in NYC what do you expect!

I hope that these are helpful, they are some of our favorites and easy for family!

And honestly, around the holiday season I think that most restaurants are ready for kids to be out with their parents enjoying a dinner out from time to time.


New York City for the Holidays

We started going to NYC for the Holiday Season when our kids were about 5, we've made so many mistakes but from time to time it works out wonderfully! I just got back from NYC with our kids and we had to go it alone this time as Dad was at Art Miami (yes, I saw the story in the NYTimes and I am hoping it's just NOT true - ha!). I wasn't really convinced of the idea so I didn't really plan it or think about much. Being alone with the kids in NYC could go terribly wrong I know, but the kids were so excited I knew I just HAD to jump in and do it!

So my first rule was go on a Monday or Tuesday, so we drove down to NYC on Sunday afternoon, we got into town after dark so I took them through Times Square to see all the lights, great idea, not planned and the kids went crazy! They loved it!

We stayed at a friends apartment, the kids call it hotel, I suppose anything in NYC feels like a hotel. In the morning we had croissants and orange juice, breakfast of Champions! (and a bit of oatmeal thrown in there for good measure and to keep us warm). Since it was Monday, the streets were fairly quiet and we made our way uptown in a taxi (another exciting moment!). We got out at Radio City Music Hall, just as a crowd was entering (or is there always a crowd outside of RCMH?) - then we walked up 50th Street and we came upon Pylones (its a colorful French store with lots of great little toys for under $5) we stocked up on little trinkets for all the people we were going to see in NYC (light-up flower rings, race car pens, etc.) and some things for the kids to play with at down time (total $32--love that!).


Next we saw a sign that that said "Top of the Rock!" I had no idea that they had an observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center, no crowds, no lines, we went straight up in the elevator to the observation deck and it was beautiful! The view from the top is fantastic, Empire State Building, Central Park, and everything in between. It's a perfect way to get started, and the kids get an idea of the size of NYC from the top instead of the streets! There are both inside and outside observation decks so if it's too cold, no problem, you can see perfectly from inside.

Then it was back down to the bottom and a look at the tree and skating rink. We closed our eyes and then walked to the front of Rockefeller Center and then said "1-2-3" and opened our eyes to see the Christmas tree sparkling! It was great! We went to watch the skaters and somehow both of my kids didn't want to skate... (until the next day, Sander wanted to go and skate when we were down in Soho... urgh...).

Then across the street the Saks Fifth Avenue windows this year are beautiful, I have seen them before and wasn't so impressed, but this year they are dreamy and magical, really great for the kids! The theme is Snowflake and the Bubble and you can see it on youtube here. The show will take place every 15 minutes and it looks incredible at night. We saw it in the day, but I imagine at night it's incredible!

We had lunch and then it was a walk up 5th Avenue to FAO Schwartz, not too crowded and the kids had a play on the giant piano, then we met some friends and went for a carriage ride in Central Park, it was perfect and the kids needed some time to rest and sit down. It was getting dark so we ducked into The Plaza to keep warm and found that there was an Eloise corner downstairs where kids can have a tea party and play and relax a bit after the long day. We had dinner with friends (Kit & Emily from Lucky Wang) that night and the kids were running around and playing, it was good not to have to go to a restaurant.

The next morning we had a beautiful breakfast at Balthazar! (mommies favorite!) Somehow we ended up walking around Nolita after breakfast and looking in all the shops. Then off we went back to Rhode Island.

It was a perfect New York City trip with the kids, calm, fun and easy! Both the kids and I had a great time. I'm sure that we missed a bunch of things but it was the perfect amount of Holiday Cheer!


Three Sisters personalized jewelry - last order date extended to December 8th

We have added new designs to the Three Sisters Jewelry and she has extended the date to December 8th for Holiday delivery. Her sweet new necklaces are simply unique and have a great playful look. My favorite is her new locket which you can include up to two photos and swings on an long chain, love them!

order until December 8th - and free shipping on orders over $100 by using code: 'freeship2010'

click here to see the whole collection on Nonchalant Mom.


nonchalant mom ladies gift guide 2010!

1. nonchalant mom - erica tanov pink alpaca herringbone shawl - $396
2. nonchalant mom - aleishall girard maxon - one of a kind, handmade bead necklaces - $156
3. nonchalant mom - britt beautiful skin - skin brushing system - $36
4. terrarium - I am going to make these for friends, I picked up some nice glass globes (or use fishbowls) at Ikea and they work perfect, Ikea even had small cactus! click her for a how-to from apartment therapy
5. flight 001 - the answer to my dream watch - by timex (grey or blue) - $80
6. nonchalant mom - Layla ajanta top - navy/gold print - $258
7. clare vivier handbag - listen up honey, this is my favorite! (that's my husband I'm talking to) - $320
8. twine - inspired design - apts & studios - these inspiring books are addictive and you will want all of them! (paris, stockholm and london) - $39
9. nonchalant mom - matta dupatta shawl (white or deep navy) - $198 / silk convertible raika skirt/dress - $228
10. flight 001 - rimowa salsa air cabin trolley - $450
11. flight 001 - spacepak - pack intelligently! - $30 - $42
12. passports with a purpose - they are a simple nonprofit organization, last year they built a school in Cambodia, this year they are going for a village in India! - click here to find out more.
13. nonchalant mom - matta wool rajastani blanket - $294
14. etsy shop - yokoo - brobdingnagian hat (but don't miss her other wonderful things!) - $55
15. clare vivier - ipad case (all I want is an iPad but if you have one, this case is the best!) - $99
16. purl soho - pick from one of the many projects! amazing yarn and quilting crafts!
17. woolly pockets - this planter is called 'island' but there are many to choose from - $29 - $98
18. elephant ceramics - beautiful textile-like ceramics -


feeling a little bit FULL!? - Rice Cream to the rescue!

rice cream with adzuki bean purée

For the last three weeks I have been running an experiment, I make rice cream on sunday and then eat it until Wednesday for breakfast and then drink the rice milk as a tea in the morning and at night before I go to bed. Its fantastic and I think it will feel great after the big Thanksgiving feast! (can't wait to make it!). It's pretty easy but you should stock up on your favorite grains, at the moment I am making it with brown rice and millet, which I love... Millet is a great grain for the wintertime, it holds energy for a long time and for me, it keeps me warm.

The recipe is easy:

Rice Cream

3/4 cup - organic brown rice
3/4 cup - organic millet
1 piece of kombu seaweed
3 umeboshi plums
spring water or good filtered water

clean grains and cook ingredients together for 5 hours on super low flame, use a flame tamer if you have one (this way you won't have anything sticking to the bottom). Skim rice milk off the top and drink as tea with a bit of water and 2-3 grains of salt. Eat the rice cream in the morning together with either steamed carrots or kale topped with sunflower seeds or whatever you like. I also like to top it with Adzuki beans simply cooked in water with a piece of kombu, then I put them through a food mill (you must have one lying around from your baby days) or you can food process them. I like a big bowl of rice cream and then a dollup of adzuki beans (pictured above) or steamed vegetables.

I know that this may sound like a process but the second or third time you do it it will just become easy for you and believe me you will have energy and feel great! Clear eyes, tons of energy and if you want to give up coffee this is a good time as you will probably have no craving for it?! (well at least I didn't!)

Good luck and I hope that this recipe makes you feel great!

rice cream after 5 hours of cooking

Happy Thanksgiving!!

have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope that you all have a fun day of food and family ahead of you....

best regards from the the entire Nonchalant Mom family!!


zesty citrus kale salad

Our local Co-op has an amazing, albeit small, selection of prepared foods. It's just perfect, three soups, a few sandwiches and then, the other day, this wonderful salad showed up!! I just can't get enough of it and I thought it might make a good salad for Thanksgiving so I thought I would share it with you.


the only problem is I don't have the specific recipe! I have not had time to try it so I am leaving it up to you!! If you nail it... please comment!! It's a perfect blend of sweet/tart/spice (just a tad) and green! I LOVE THIS!

Here are the ingredients:
grapefruit (peeled and cut into pieces), orange (peeled and cut into pieces), kale (at least one bunch!), red onion, sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes, orange juice, coconut vinegar, agave nectar, lime juice.

She did say it's a BIG bunch of kale, hint which 'cook's' down in the lime juice (not 'cooked' but the lime cooks it) it's all totally fresh and not cooked at all! and just a hint of the pepper flakes, orange juice (most of the juice comes from the grapefruit and orange pieces) - and the leftover juice when you are done at the bottom of your bowl... yummy!



The actual size of Africa - have you seen this?

Or more to the point have your KIDS seen this? It shows that you could fit the whole USA, China, India, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, and Eastern Europe, inside of Africa and still have some room left. My kids were fascinated by this map, we got out the globe and we all got into it! It's something so simple but teaches them a lot about the world. It's because flat maps distort the size of countries (the closer they are to the poles, the more distorted they are), most people don't really know just how big the African continent is.

We are all interconnected - Africa matters a lot because of the number of people who live there (about 1 billion as of 2005), but also because of the number of indigenous animal and plant species, because of the vast expanses of land that aren't being protected, because of the huge ecosystems that are uniquely found there, because of the impact that it can have on the global climate (especially deforestation and desertification), because of all the solar power potential and other natural resources, etc. It is one of the key regions that needs to improve on many levels for the welfare of its people and to safeguard the integrity of our planet's life-support systems.
(text via tree hugger - Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada)

Here are some more astonishing facts:

(measured in x 1000 km-squared)
surface of the moon = 37,930
Africa = 30,221
USA, China, Europe, India & Japan = 30,102

USA = 311 million
China = 1.3 billion
India = 1.1 billion
North America = 529 million
Africa = 1 billion
Asia = 3.9 billion
World = 7 billion 

This wonderful map came to me through Treehugger.

see the full story on Treehugger here
higher resolution of map can be downloaded here


Raw for 30 Days

from film simply raw
We all know that "you are what you eat!" but the amount of people these days with diabetes is staggering. You probably know someone with diabetes, and if you do ask them to watch this 5 minute introduction to the film: Simply Raw - reversing diabetes in 30 days (and then get them the film!). I am not a raw food  person myself, and I would like to know more about it, but this film really moved me. It's so simple, they found six people with diabetes and fed them for one month, while monitoring their food intake. They asked them to cut their insulin intake by one-third, which they did and then consumed an only raw food diet consisting of no dairy, meat, alcohol etc.. and only organic fruits and vegetables. All six people were cured of diabetes within the 30 days!

an astonished doctor examines his patient who is now cured of diabetes!
These six Americans with diabetes switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, uncooked food in order to reverse disease without pharmaceutical medication. The six are challenged to give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food, and even cooked food for 30 days. Why isn't this front page news... People just can't understand that they can be healed by food. Just watch the video and spread the word!

Click here to visit the website Raw for Thirty Days to get more information
watch the 5 minute you-tube piece by clicking here


roasted seaweed snack

I have talked before about nori seaweed (it's really one of my favorite blogs: a sheet of nori a day for energy), but lately while at a soccer game we brought some roasted seaweed snack and while my son was playing some of the other kids came around to see what we were eating so I gave them a piece and they all LOVED it! and gobbled up the whole pack within seconds... then a dad came by to see what all the commotion was about and he tried it and liked it too! Okay there was one kid who was very stubborn but all the others took over and loved it.

The hard part is getting them to stop! Today when my kids came home from school I asked them what they wanted and Franny yelled "seaweed!".. so that's what they got and within seconds the package was empty on the counter! Seaweed is a great snack for kids to enjoy and so good for them! And if there is a new baby in the house, give it to them as a snack instead of cheerios, you will be so surprised! (but don't use the salted kind, toast it yourself with nothing) Babies and young kids love it most, probably because they don't know what it is and don't have the 'eeeww it's seaweed?' reaction.

You can make your own roasted seaweed by just toasting a sheet on your stove top flame until it turns bright green and then it's done OR you can purchase these ready made, they are roasted with a bit of olive oil and a touch of sea salt. I have tried two brands and I really like the Sea Snax brand (which I found while in LA but it is also sold at our local co-op so it shouldn't be hard to find or you can buy it online here) or the Trader Joes brand which is great too (and only 99 cents a package)! Try them they are delicious and tell us how it works for you. Your kids will be getting a bang of Calcium, a sheet of nori has as much Calcium as 4 cups of milk.... take that MILK!

According to Sea Snax:
Sea vegetables are virtually fat-free, low in calories and one of the richest sources of minerals in the vegetable kingdom as they have ready access to the abundant minerals found in the ocean.  Nourishment is acquired across the sea vegetable’s entire surface through the gentle wave action of underwater currents. For centuries, new mothers in Korea have replenished themselves with seaweed soup to assist them in their postpartum recovery and rejuvenation. According to ancient Korean folklore, this postpartum tradition was learned from observing female whales that would seek out and eat strands of seaweed after giving birth.

This is simply the best snack food you can offer your kids!

click here to visit my previous story on Nori


well, well, well... Nonchalant Dads cat is out of the bag...

About four years ago I was suddenly very surprised at my husbands cooking. Hhhmmmm... I thought, suddenly he can cook these very tasty meals seemingly out of nowhere! Had he been watching the Food Channel late at night when nobody was watching? Which program is he getting this direction on  delicious spices that he is using? Then a friend gave us a big jar of tumeric, I was sure that this was the secret ingredient, it did always taste a bit the same but always delicious and a very good blend of spices. But now when I look at that jar, there is still almost full! He became particularly good at meats, sauces, pastas, etc... I just couldn't figure it out. Then I read yesterdays blog... All this time, I have been asking how he did it, which cooking program he is watching, where is he getting his recipes, as he just says nothing... yes, his use of words is very good, I was certainly 'confounded'!

Previous to this his skills consisted of this horrible saucy pasta dish that he was very proud of but tasted horrible, we have not had that pasta in years. Now I understand it is since he has had the revelation that you can buy something in a can and serve it with anything left over in the fridge, add some veggies and some protein and as he says Viola! Now I know why he insists on grocery shopping at least once in a while and why he never seems to use a recipe! Just looking in the fridge and pantry I found these two sauces: Seeds of Change - organic Korma and Maya Kaimal coconut curry... ah HA!! Caught red handed! (don't ask me why I never really noticed them before!?)

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can't wait to see what we get next! I am going to insist that he open up his program... do some work and learn a few REAL recipes!

Full disclosure, he does make a very amazing Carbonara -- authentically good, no cheating! I've watched him!


Nonchalant Dad: Fast Food For The Conscientious

I was thinking the other day about a couple of things. What started me thinking was Halloween night in particular. Everyone seems in a bit of a hurry to get the kids fed and out the door in time for trick or treating. So, naturally, it's usually a quick meal. That's what got me thinking. Unless you're lucky enough to be a full time stay at home parent (and even that isn't enough of a guarantee these days that you'll still not be overly busy) or you've got a full staff of people to assist you - you're probably stressed out enough at meal times. And, chances are, if you're the typical DAD then you're probably even more hampered when it comes to meal time - considering your skills are limited!!

I remember the few times as a child when my own father was entrusted to prepare a meal for us in the home. He would inevitably fall back on his standard: scrambled eggs made with olive oil and sage. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad as far as quick meals go (and it tasted pretty good since he didn't use milk like my mother did - the small difference between an Arabic version and English version). What it wasn't was complicated or particularly inventive - which translated into being just plain boring, and not necessarily nutritious. 

What's worse these days is that fast food is much more prevalent. Whether it's in your own home or out and about, the food is pretty simple. It's not hard to see the average household these days resort to
a simple pizza, chicken fingers, or macaroni and cheese when it comes down to crunch time for an evening meal. I'm not blaming anyone - I know the feeling well. You're not really prepared, times running out because you've got to be somewhere or just come from somewhere, and you reach for the easiest item you have in the pantry or fridge. It's already a small victory if you're not tempted to just grab a 'bite' while you are out.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm the type of person who is very adept at putting together one of those fabulous meals from scratch in under 5 minutes - especially with the kids coming at you from all angles. But, I'm also not wanting to be one of those parents who just grabs something easy for the meal..... at least not a majority of the time. So, I found something of a compromise. At first it was tinned soup. I'd take a store bought soup, open the tin and Voila! But, most soups (even organic) are a bit skimpy on the substance, so I'd quickly add some fresh chopped veggies or fish (meat) that I could find in the kitchen. Suddenly, the meal was heartier and still quick. Problem solved...... or so I thought. After a while, things got a bit boring again.

Then it dawned on me while shopping in the co-op recently, looking as I was for something a bit different: a nice chili in a tin. This wasn't that type of tinned chili we might have been used to in the good ol' 70's or 80's - big meaty stuff. This was a new generation of product: simple, nutritious, organic and with ingredients that you'd have a hard time finding in mainstream products. My recent discovery was a line of tinned chili on the shelf - incorporating ingredients like Quinoa, Kamut, and Barley. To prepare a chili from scratch using these ingredients would take a while - but now here was something that would only take minutes and was inventive and nutritious. Plus, the kids liked it! And, if you're really clever, you can set it all up so that if neighbours or friends stop over you can make it look like you spent all day on the endeavour - something that will really confuse them!

So, tonight - finding myself in a pinch, I reached up in the cupboard and pulled down a couple of tins of Eden Brand Organic Great Northern Bean and Barley Chili (you might just as easily find another brand in your local shop). I added some onion, chicken, and brown rice & millet that I had handy in the fridge (I believe Carina cooked it last night... lucky me!) and next thing you know, 15 minutes later I had a full meal.

I guess my point is this: next time you find yourself in a hurry and you don't want to fall back on the easy standards, why not broaden the perspective a little bit by searching out some other quick tinned solutions. And, as a Dad, why find yourself restricted when you can come up with something delicious
and inventive.... and like I said, if you want to confound the wife or friends, just hide the tins before anyone notices. Just don't tell anyone I told you.